Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 286 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/10/2023

Project Features

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Chepsaga Primary School's 272 students and 14 staff members have no reliable water point in their school compound.

There is a tap stand on the school grounds, but the municipal water that should flow from it is not reliable. For the last six months, there has not been a single drop of water from the tap, which forces students to fetch water outside the school compound from the river.

But collecting water from the river is a dangerous and exhausting task.

"Going to fetch water at the river is always risky, especially during the rainy season, as the river does swell. When one is not keen, there are high chances of being swept [away] by the waters. I have twice fallen victim," said 12-year-old student Sylvia M., shown below fetching water.

Water to be used at the school is collected throughout the entire day, causing students to miss valuable time in class. And sadly, in the long run, the water they work so hard to collect ends up causing harm because it is contaminated. Absenteeism is an issue for students because they fear the burdensome task of going to fetch water and because they often suffer from water-related infections.

"We are endangering the lives of our students whenever we request them to go fetch water at the river," said headteacher Tom Idiong'o, at the river below. "Whenever a student gets injured, it does come back to me, the head of the institution. On several occasions, I have been condemned by the parents of the school and the entire village for the neglect."

Installation of a well will allow everyone to access clean, safe, sufficient water directly in their compound and hopefully give students the time and freedom to focus solely on school.

What We Can Do:

New Well

We conducted a hydrogeological survey at this school and the results indicated the water table beneath it is an ideal candidate for a borehole well. Due to a borehole well's unique ability to tap into a safe, year-round water column, it will be poised to serve all of the water needs for this school's large population, even through the dry months.

The school will help collect the needed construction materials such as sand, rocks, and water for mixing cement. They will also provide housing and meals for the work team, in addition to providing local laborers. We will complement their materials by providing an expert team of artisans and drilling professionals, tools, hardware, and the hand-pump. Once finished, water from the well will then be used by the school’s students and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

Handwashing Stations

The student health club will oversee the two new handwashing stations we will provide, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The club leaders will fill the handwashing stations with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

We will construct two triple-door latrine blocks using local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls and three doors will serve the boys. All of these new latrines will have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and to clean. And with a borehole right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

We will hold a one-day intensive training session with students, teachers, and parents. This training will cover a wide range of topics including COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention; personal and environmental hygiene; and the operation and maintenance of the borehole, latrines, and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, and asset-based community development. We will initiate a student health club, which will prepare students to lead other pupils into healthy habits at school and at home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions, and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good hygiene practices within the school including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

We and the school strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve standards at this school, which will help lead to better student academic performance and will help unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Project Updates

June, 2023: St. Mary's Chepsaga Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that St. Mary's Chepsaga Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new safe water source thanks to the completion of their borehole well! Students and staff are already using the well’s flowing water, which will provide them with a reliable water source for all of their daily needs.

We also installed new latrines and handwashing stations and trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

"Water being available directly in the school compound will reduce time wastage, allowing students [to] focus much on class work [and] cases of absenteeism will reduce as our school will now be conducive for the learners. Water being available directly in the school compound, we will be able to lift ourselves from poverty as most time will be spent in our classes learning," said 11-year-old Kalmas A.

Kalmas collecting water.

Teachers were just as excited as the students about the new well on campus.

"[The] availability of clean water will improve on our health standards. We will have clean water for drinking, thus not compromising our health. With available water, sanitation standards of the school will improve. We will clean our latrines, classes, and compound more frequently. Water being available, we will be able to water our kitchen garden during the drought season, and this will help reduce [the] cost of purchasing vegetables for use in school," said teacher Vivian Anzalia.

Vivian using the new well.

How We Got the Water Flowing

Parents, staff, and students all contributed to this well’s success. After determining the best site for the well through a hydrogeological survey, we obtained approval and a license from the government to begin drilling.

To prepare, the school collected fine sand and water for cement-making. When everything was ready, our drill team and staff arrived at the school to begin work.

Drilling begins.

Drilling commenced with excitement in the air. The team drove down a temporary casing to keep the walls from collapsing as the rig progressed. We continued drilling to reach a final depth of 85 meters with a final static water level of 73 meters.

The drilling process can take up to three consecutive days to complete due to this region’s hard bedrock, so the drill team set up a camp where they could rest and refuel. The school’s kitchen staff and parents helped provide meals for the team, while the school provided a safe place for the artisans’ accommodations and materials.

Once we reached the required depth, the team replaced the temporary casing with a permanent version, then bailed out the dirty water at the bottom of the well. The workers installed pipes, flushed them, tested the well’s yield, and chlorinated the water.

Drilling continues.

After water treatment, we constructed a cement well pad to seal off the well from any ground-level contaminants. Tiles are installed beneath the spout to protect the cement from the erosive force of the water.

We also included a short drainage channel to carry spilled water away from the pump and prevent standing water. A soak pit absorbs runoff at the end of the drainage channel, further eliminating any stagnant water.

Building the well pad.

When the well pad was dry, we installed a new stainless steel AfriDev handpump and sampled the water for a quality test. The results showed this water was safe for drinking!

We officially handed over the new borehole to the school’s students and teachers.

Happy to collect clean water!

"Together, we assembled at the water point for the handing-over ceremony. The community was overwhelmed with joy since this was [the first] major project ever done in the community. Each person wanted to have a first-hand taste of [the] flow of water. The school headteacher gave her vote of thanks to all participants in the project [and] later invited the clergy, who wrapped the session with a thanksgiving prayer," said field officer Samuel Samidi.

Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus. The event was an excellent chance to acknowledge the school administration and students as the primary parties entrusted with the tools we have given and remind them of our continued support as they develop. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

VIP Latrines

The boy's latrine.

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. These new latrines have cement floors designed to be easy to use and clean, locking doors for safety and privacy, and vents to keep air flowing up and out through the roof. With a well right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Handwashing Stations

Hygiene trainer, Samuel Samidi, shows children how to use their new handwashing station properly.

We set up two handwashing stations outside the latrines and handed them over to the newly formed student health club. Health club members will teach other students how to wash their hands at the stations properly, fill the stations with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent available.

New Knowledge

We scheduled hygiene and sanitation training with the school’s staff, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for pupils and teachers. When the training day arrived, facilitators Samuel and Rose deployed to the site to lead the event. 22 students and teachers attended the training, which we held under some shade trees on the school compound.

Oral hygiene session.

We focused on personal, menstrual, oral, and environmental hygiene; proper water handling; soap-making and the ten steps of handwashing; the importance of primary health care, the prevention of teen pregnancy and COVID-19; child rights; the operation and maintenance of the pump, well, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

The student health club members will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. By the end of the training, each pupil understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their school community.

Through the session on community participation and involvement, participants were able to identify their contributions and determined it was ideal for them to take ownership of the facilities installed at the school.

"When people come together to achieve a certain objective, it's an indicator that people are united. It was agreed that collective responsibility will allow for [the] sustainability of the installed facilities in [the] school," said field officer Samuel Samidi.

Training session to show students and teachers how to make soap.

"Hygiene and sanitation are mandatory in raising a healthy generation. Today's training has been a reminder to us, the community, that we are to improve in our areas of laxity. Most of us live a careless life, and this has always impacted negatively on our health standards. Information gathered will be disseminated to the entire school and community so that our people live a healthy life," said 11-year-old Mercy Muhonja, who is the secretary of the student health club.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. When an issue arises concerning the well, the students and teachers are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we’re working toward complete coverage. That means reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

May, 2023: St. Mary's Chepsaga Primary School New Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Mary's Chepsaga Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

Project Videos

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Project Type

Abundant water is often right under our feet! Beneath the Earth’s surface, rivers called aquifers flow through layers of sediment and rock, providing a constant supply of safe water. For borehole wells, we drill deep into the earth, allowing us to access this water which is naturally filtered and protected from sources of contamination at the surface level. First, we decide where to drill by surveying the area and determining where aquifers are likely to sit. To reach the underground water, our drill rigs plunge through meters (sometimes even hundreds of meters!) of soil, silt, rock, and more. Once the drill finds water, we build a well platform and attach a hand pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around five gallons of water per minute! Learn more here!


Project Sponsor - PKS The Harvest
Concord-Carlisle Catholic Collaborative
Gus and Genevieve Ingraldi
ACMS Campaign for Water!
Reham's Campaign for Water
14 individual donor(s)